Article 15 (film)

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Article 15
Article 15 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAnubhav Sinha
Produced byAnubhav Sinha
Zee Studios
Written byGaurav Solanki
Anubhav Sinha
StarringAyushmann Khurrana
Isha Talwar
Sayani Gupta
Kumud Mishra
Manoj Pahwa
Music bySongs:
Anurag Saikia
Piyush Shankar
Devin Parker
Mangesh Dhakde
CinematographyEwan Mulligan
Edited byYasha Ramchandani
Benaras Media Works
Zee Studios
Distributed byZee Studios
Release date
  • 28 June 2019 (2019-06-28)[1]
Running time
130 minutes[2]
Budget₹31 crore[3]
Box officeest. ₹82.74 crore[4]

Article 15 is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language crime drama film [2] directed by Anubhav Sinha and produced jointly by Zee Studios and Benaras Media Works.[5] Written by Gaurav Solanki and Anubhav Sinha, it stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Veen and Sumbul Touqeer.

The film is based on Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.[6] While not based on one specific event, the film is inspired by multiple true life events including 2014 Badaun gang rape allegations and 2016 Una flogging incident.[7][8] Filming began on 1 March 2019 in Lucknow.[9] The film follows a police investigation that commences after three teenage girls go missing from a small village.

It was selected as the opening film for the 10th edition of London Indian Film Festival to be premiered on 20 June.[10][11] Article 15 was theatrically released in India on 28 June 2019 and received critically acclaim.[12]


The film begins with a group of villagers in Laalgaon engaged in a song while three Dalit girls are trapped in a school bus and are raped by a few men. Ayan Ranjan (Ayushmann Khurrana), a St. Stephens College graduate and an Indian Police Service officer, is recently posted to Laalgaon as the deputy-Chief of district police and is warmly welcomed by officers Bhramadatt Singh (Manoj Pahwa) and Jatav (Kumud Mishra). He is introduced to the caste discrimination the village faces when he stops to buy a bottle of water from a local shop to which an officer tells him that they are not allowed to have their water as the shop belongs to people belonging to a lower caste. He faces a similar situation at his welcome party where he is given a fresh plate to eat while trying to eat from Jatav's plate. The very next day, it is shown that the two girls who were raped in the bus have been hanged from a tree, while the third girl Pooja is still missing. During the post-mortem examination of the bodies, Dr. Malti Ram (Ronjini Chakraborty) finds out that the girls were gang raped, but is coaxed by Bhramadutt to not only delay the report but also to write that the girls were murdered and not raped so that the case becomes that of honour killing. Meanwhile, Jatav and his men are threatened and their jeep burned by Nishaad's (a revolutionary) gang in order to get speedy justice. On seeing this, Ayan realises the gravity of the situation and decides to dig deeper in this case until the victims gets justice. On the other hand, Bhramadutt is trying to close the case at the earliest and persuades Ayan to do so as well on the pretext that the case is false. It is only when Gaura (Sayani Gupta), a relative of the girls informs him that they used to work for a local builder named Anshu Naharia and had recently asked for an increase in their salary by just Rs. 3 that the investigation gets more serious. Ayan decides to call Anshu for inquiry even though Bhramadutt persuades him not to do so. During interrogation Anshul says that the girls were punished so that the entire caste would be reminded of their status. On asking them about their status, he replies, "Their status is what what we give them". This deeply disturbs Ayan as he gets to see the loopholes behind the political system. He promptly decides to "un-mess" the mess and the very next morning, he puts the Article 15 of the Indian Constitution on the billboard as a reminder to all the police officers to first and foremost be Indians and that any kind of caste discrimination is a criminal offence. What happens next forms the crux of the story.



The storyline of the film is based on the socio-political situation of the country, post independence time drawing inferences from true-life events researched over the last 6 months, akin to Mulk.[13] Giving details on Article 15 Anubhav Sinha stated that "this film is an investigative drama where the audience too is an accused party ... A very challenging film that needed an extraordinary actor like Ayushmann."[6]


The filming started on 1 March 2019 in Lucknow.[9][14] During filming on 14 March 2019, Khurrana the leading star of the film, and the team entered into swamp filled with leeches to shoot scenes of the film. He shared picture of the team on twitter.[15] The shooting of the film was completed in the first half of April 2019.[16]

Marketing and release[edit]

The lead actor of the film Ayushmann Khurrana shared the first look of the film on twitter on 6 March 2019.[17] First look poster of Khurrana in the film was released on 27 May 2019. It also bears the release date of the film.[18] The poster have tag line at top that reads as, "Farq bahut kar liya, ab farq laayenge" (Enough of the differentiations, it is time to bring about a difference.)[19] Later the same day the teaser of the film was released on YouTube by Zee Music Company.[20] The teaser got 8.3 million views since its release.[21] The official trailer of the film was released on 30 May by Zee Music Company.[22] The trailer of Article 15 was attached with Salman Khan's starrer film Bharat.[23]

The teaser of the song "Shuru Karein Kya" was released on 7 June.[24][25] The video of song was released on 11 June.[26] The jukebox was released on 14 June.[27]

Article 15 has been selected as opening film for the 10th edition of London Indian Film Festival to be premiered on 20 June.[11] It was released in India on 28 June 2019.[1]


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 89% based on nineteen reviews.[28] Article 15 generally received critically acclaimed reviews from critics.[12]

Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost concurred with Sengupta and Sharma, gave 4.5/5 stars and found 'Sinha’s unfaltering direction' was backed by Ewan Mulligan’s 'unsparing cinematography' and a 'strong cast'. Concluding, she wrote, "Watching this film is an overwhelming emotional experience," and she opined, Article 15 is the best that Indian cinema can be in these troubled times if it chooses to hold a mirror up to our society..."[29] Raja Sen writing for Hindustan Times rated the film with 4.5/5 stars and opined that the film is a tribute to Alan Parker the director of 1988 film Mississippi Burning. He praised Solanki and Sinha for honest writing, haunting shots by Mulligan and performances of ensemble. Ending his writing, he said, "Article 15 is not a film in search of easy answers. Instead, it is a reminder that we already know the questions but don’t ask them enough. 'Not cool, sir'."[30] Vijayalakshmi Narayanan of Radio City gave the film 4.5/5 stars, and said "Coming to the cast, Ayushmann leads from the front and one cannot be thankful enough. The actor proves his mettle yet again when it comes to backing good scripts. He makes the right noise even in his moments of melancholy."[31]

Sreeparna Sengupta of The Times of India gave the film 4/5 stars, praising performance of Ayushmann Khurrana, Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and background music and cinematography of Ewan Mulligan as well. She felt that Sinha had given another dimension to narrative by surfacing the artful shades through the characters and setting. She opines, "Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 is designed like a crime thriller. What works for the film is that it’s thought provoking, hard hitting while unflinchingly bringing to light burning social issues." Concluding, she wrote that the film is not a 'light watch', rather it is 'definitely relevant', 'compelling' and will start a debate.[32] Devesh Sharma reviewing for Filmfare rates the film with 4/5 stars. He praised screenplay, dialogues and cinematography of the film apart from performance of Khurrana and supporting cast. He recommends watching the film for its 'riveting performances' and its 'underlying message', and opines that the film presents the candid truth about the contemporary society. Quoting Jack Nicholson’s character from A Few Good Men -- “You can’t handle the truth” he hopes that the audience goes out to watch the film and 'learns to handle the truth...'[33] Priyanka Sinha Jha of CNN-News18, praising Khurrana and ensemble of Kumud Sharma, Manoj Pahwa, Sayani Gupta, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and M Nassar for their performances, rates the film with 4/5 stars. Agreeing with Vetticad she writes, "Article 15 is remarkable in that it does not pontificate. It merely holds up the mirror to a society still entangled in age-old caste politics that absolutely overrides the modern ideals of liberty and equality." Concluding, she opines that Sinha has knack of combining elements of popular film-making with realistic story-telling to give masterful films.[34] Writing for the NDTV Saibal Chatterjee, termed it a 'radical' film, tackling social issues. He praised Sinha and Gaurav Solanki for the screenplay and cast for effective performances. He concludes the review as, "[The film] remains true to the demands of the plot without losing control over its principal purpose - administering a bitter pill with just a hint of a sugar coating. It works wonderfully well. Article 15 is a not to be missed film." He rates it with 4/5 stars.[35]

Mayur Sanap of Deccan Chronicle rated it 4/5 stars and finds it a 'gripping social thriller'. He commended the performances and script, and concludes, "With Anubhav Sinha's straightforward and unflashy directorial style, the film proves to be an effective drama. It may be devoid of spectacle, but it is still full of zeal and warrants a must watch."[36] Manjusha Radhakrishnan of Gulf News gave 4/5 stars, and felt that the film was not easy to watch, however everyone should give it a chance. She opined, "Article 15 sobers you up instantly, but it also makes you think about Indian’s complicated social segregation based on accident of birth."[37] Lakshana N Palat of India Today rated it with 3.5/5 stars, praised the performances of cast and felt that the film's 'overtly optimistic ending' was not in tune. According to him, despite rough around the edges and flawed in storytelling, it is worth watching. Agreeing with Sengupta, he opines, "It's a start. It cannot change society but it at least can initiate a conversation and debate that examines the horrors that lurk in this very society, invisible to our privileged eyes."[38] Bollywood Hungama rated the film 3.5/5 stars and praised Mulligan for cinematography, Nikhil Kovale for production design, Sinha and Solanki for story and screenplay. He commended performances of ensemble and direction of Sinha and felt that the look of the film was 'quite rich' and 'haunting' and that worked. He sumed up the review as, "On the whole, ARTICLE 15 is a hard-hitting film that raises some important issues related to caste, that are plaguing the country."[39] Kunal Guha of Mumbai Mirror rated the film with 3/5 stars and felt that it reminded of hateful atrocities, and wrote, "The film, however, gets a bit tiring in parts when the message seems to be incessantly hammered down." However, he praised the performances of ensemble.[40]

Box office[edit]

Article 15 had the opening day collection of 5.02 crore and opening weekend worldwide gross of 30.75 crore. In the opening week the film grossed 47.62 crore worldwide. With gross of 68.96 crore from India and 13.78 crore from overseas, as of 16 July 2019, the film has grossed 82.74 crore worldwide.[4][41]


Article 15
Soundtrack album by
Anurag Saikia, Piyush Shankar, Devin Parkar and Gingger
Released14 June 2019 [42]
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelZee Music Company
Anurag Saikia chronology
Article 15
External audio
Audio Jukebox on YouTube

The music of the film is composed by Anurag Saikia, Piyush Shankar, Devin Parker and Gingger while lyrics are written by Rashmi Virag, Shakeel Azmi, Slow Cheeta, Dee MC, Kaam Bhaari and Spit Fire. The Times of India based Debarati S Sen, in her review, said the album is "a fine example of original songs finding its way back into the Hindi film industry".[43]

Track listing
1."Naina Yeh"Rashmi ViragPiyush ShankarYasser Desai, Akanksha Sharma5:29
2."Intezari"Shakeel AzmiAnurag SaikiaArmaan Malik5:08
3."Intezari" (Unplugged)Shakeel AzmiAnurag SaikiaAyushmann Khurrana4:46
4."Intezari" (Asees Version)Shakeel AzmiAnurag SaikiaAsees Kaur4:35
5."Kahab Toh"Shakeel AzmiAnurag SaikiaSayani Gupta3:12
6."Shuru Karein Kya"Slow Cheeta, Dee MC, Kaam Bhaari, Spit FireDevin Parker, GinggerSlow Cheeta, Dee MC, Kaam Bhaari, Spit Fire3:45
Total length:26:55


  1. ^ a b "Ayushmann Khurrana starrer 'Article 15' gets release date". Business Standard. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
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  24. ^ "Shuru Karein Kya - Song Teaser|Article 15| Ayushmann K, Slow Cheeta, Dee MC, Kaam Bhari, Spit Fire". YouTube. Zee Music Company. 7 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Article 15 song Shuru Karein Kya teaser: Kaam Bhaari, SlowCheeta join Ayushmann Khurrana in his fight for justice". Hindustan Times. 8 June 2019.
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External links[edit]